10 Most Beautiful Places to Spend a Weekend in Colorado
Lake Dillon in Winter. Photo Credit: Todd Powell, courtesy of Town of Frisco.
Colorado is home to some of the most iconic and stunning landscapes in the country. Known for its 14,000-foot peaks, expansive wilderness, and historic mountain towns, Colorado draws visitors seeking adventure in the outdoors and authentic experiences in the Centennial State’s unique Western culture. From the picturesque town of Frisco to the high peaks surrounding Telluride, from the streets of Boulder to the mountains views in Estes Park, we’ve rounded up the ten most beautiful places to spend a weekend in Colorado, so you can experience some of the state’s most iconic towns, and immerse yourself in all that our forests, mountains, water ways, and mountain towns have to offer.
1. Frisco, Colorado
There are a thousand things to do in Frisco in any season and not one of them has a bad view. Whether you’re hiking on the expansive trail system in the White River National Forest, riding along the recreational bike path, or strolling Main Street, you have epic views of snow-capped peaks from the Tenmile, Gore, and Mosquito Ranges as well as the incredible Dillon Reservoir. A little more than an hour’s drive from Denver, Frisco is the ideal location for a no-stress picturesque weekend getaway. Choose between four ski areas in the County to ski in the winter and endless mountain biking and hiking in the summer. Fish any time of year on the fresh water reservoir and head to the Frisco Bay Marina to rent a boat to explore the lake when the ice thaws.
Some of the best ways to enjoy winter in Frisco are in the outdoors. The Frisco Nordic Center offers 27 kilometers of ski trails ideal for all levels of skiers. They also offer rentals for both skate and classic skiing as well as snowshoe rentals. If you’re looking for an activity perfect for the whole family, the Frisco Adventure Park has an adrenaline pumping tubing hill, ideal for letting your inner child out to play. Main Street in downtown Frisco is a hub of restaurants and local shops. Choose from local coffee shops, breweries, and confectionaries for your meals, and enjoy an afternoon stroll and window shopping along the picturesque blocks of this Colorado mountain town.
2. Crested Butte, Colorado
Crested Butte has two great claims to fame: “The Last Great Colorado Ski Town” and the Wildflower Capital of Colorado. This small town in Gunnison County has a colorful main street filled with mining history and local food and crafts and is home to sprawling landscapes open to mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and hiking. Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers world-class skiing amidst a remote and beautiful wilderness.
3. Estes Park, Colorado
Estes Park sits at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park and features an outstanding display of wilderness and wildlife. Hike through more than 350 miles of trails to experience tundra, forests, and steep Colorado peaks. Drive Trail Ridge Road, a national scenic byway and the highest continuous paved highway in America, to see some of the natural landscape. Guests can also ride the Estes Park Aerial Tramway for views of the valley as they ascend to Prospect Mountain.
4. Durango, Colorado
Durango is where the Old West meets the Southwest on the edge of the San Juan Forest. Downtown boasts beautiful 19th century buildings steeped in Western heritage. Visitors can stay in Durango and take day trips to visit cultural archeological sites like Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde National Park, or explore the surrounding San Juan National Forest and Weminuche Wilderness. You don’t need to be a hiker to enjoy the beauty of the Durango area. Hop on the Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and ride through canyons and the remote San Juan Forest. There is also great skiing at Purgatory Resort in the winter and water activities at Vallecito Lake in the summer. Enjoy the countless microbreweries and the Trimble Hot Springs in any season.
5. Telluride, Colorado
When you pull into downtown Telluride, you feel like you’ve reached the end of the Earth. The restored Victorian Main Street sits right beneath the towering walls of the San Juan Mountains and the watchful eye of Ajax Peak. Spend the day strolling through colorful downtown, or head out in to the endless possibilities of the surrounding mountains to hike, ski, climb, mountain bike, and more. Make sure to swing through in the fall to see the canyon glowing gold with aspens.
6. Crestone, Colorado
Crestone is a small, sustainably-minded mountain town with a big spirit and even bigger views. At the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Crestone overlooks the San Luis Valley while providing access to the 14,000-foot Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. Visitors can immerse themselves in the big mountains, take a drive to the Grand Sand Dunes National Park, and explore the Baca National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding historic and cultural sites dating back to more than 2,000 years ago. Crestone is also well known for its rich spiritual presence, including a Hindu temple, co-ed Carmelite monastery, Tibetan Buddhist and Zen centers, and several New Age happenings.
7. Aspen, Colorado
Aspen may be an epicenter for haute cuisine, arts, and fancy boutiques, but the Elk Mountains surrounding the world-renowned ski town are what make it a must-see. Choose between four ski mountains, or explore the less developed White River National Forest. Make sure to hike, camp, or visit the viewing spot for Maroon Bells, some of the most iconic mountains in the country. Aspen also has an amazing trail system between Aspen/Snowmass down valley to Woody Creek and Basalt for riding your bike while soaking in views. Make sure to take Independence Pass either going to or leaving Aspen (weather permitting) to stand on top of the world and get a good shot of the Continental Divide.
8. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is where the plains meet the Rockies with all the geological drama you could dream of. Take the weekend to hike around the foothills of America’s Mountain, Pikes Peak (or tackle the beast itself!). Make sure to ride or stroll through Garden of the Gods to see incredible sandstone and other geological formations unlike anywhere else, set against the blue ski and backdrop of the city’s beloved 14er.
9. Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Steamboat Springs, known as Ski Town U.S.A, is a Colorado destination off the I-70 corridor with a unique Wild West subculture. It has endless outdoor possibilities in and around the Yampa Valley. Howelsen Hill and Steamboat Ski Resort sit on either side of downtown for alpine skiing in the winter. In the summer, hike to Fish Creek Falls or take a quick drive up to Rabbit Ears Pass for gorgeous wildflowers. There are several state parks in the area too, including Stagecoach State Park, Pearl Lake State Park, and Steamboat Lake State Park. After a day outside, soak in Strawberry Hot Springs to unwind in nature’s very own hot tub.
10. Boulder, Colorado
Boulder has all the flair of a city and all the access of a remote Colorado mountain town. Boulder is home to numerous parks, including local favorite, Eldorado Canyon State Park, where climbers and hikers alike can spend days on projects and new trails. What makes Boulder one of Colorado’s top ten most beautiful places is the view and access to the Flatirons, marked by the iconic five large flatirons at the Eastern face of Green Mountain.